Florida executed one of its longest-serving death row inmates on Wednesday 32 years after the crime took place. Larry Eugene Mann, 59, was put to death by lethal injection for the kidnapping and murder of Elisa Nelson in 1980.
Nelson was riding her bike to school when Mann approached and kidnapped her. The known pedophile then attempted to molest her before beating her, stabbing her, and crushing her head with a concrete-encased pole, evidence showed. He was found guilty of the brutal murder and sentenced to death in 1981.
Nine years later he was re-sentenced to the death penalty after taking his appeal to the federal court. His final appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court last week, and Nelson was given a date for execution.
"How terrified must this little girl have been? Could she see this monster was about to crush her child-sized skull because she wouldn't die?" Jeff Nelson, Elisa's brother, asked when speaking to the media after the execution. "Those are the images that come to mind whenever we think about Elisa."
"Somebody told me today is National Siblings Day. Certainly I never expected to spend it like this," he added. "Elisa Vera Nelson was a bright, funny, caring and beautiful girl. She was a Girl Scout and played Little League baseball – she was one of the best on the team."
Even though Nelson did not give a final statement to those observing the execution, he did leave a final written statement that cited Romans 6:23, which states, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Many have spoken out about the length of time it took for Nelson to be executed, saying that 32 years is simply too long for the victims' families to suffer.
"Prayers for Elisa and her family. If executions were carried out swiftly, murders would stop or at the very least these animals wouldn't be around to do them again," Bunny Wardlaw posted on Gainesville.com.
"Over the years in law enforcement, I have dealt with a lot of death row inmates and wonder why they weren't put down long ago. Some of those people were killers of many people and to see their names still on death row years later after they should have been put down is appalling. These people killed with no remorse and a lot of people had their whole lives changed because of them," Richard Hooker added.